Sunday, November 20, 2011

The Middle Way

It is very interesting to me how people have to pick a side and defend it by dissing the other side. In the last week, I have hung out with both schoolers and homeschoolers and observed this strange habit galore. It is as if they fear that their reasons to do something can never measure up to the reasons not to and they have to rationalize their choice by putting down the opposing choice. The truth is that school can be a horrific place and a wonderful experience. Not going to school can save you from the horror and leave you lacking in many experiences. It is not black and white.
I'd like to see people make choices for their children based on all the unique factors in their and their children's lives, the goals they have for their children and the goals the kids have for themselves. Not on what they will avoid.
All of life is an uncertainty. You cannot ensure any outcome. There is no need to bash the other side to lessen the fear of having such little control over outcomes.
No matter what you choose, your child will be someone that, in the end, you realize you had very little influence over. They are who they are meant to be. They will live their own lives. Sometimes you help them achieve their potential and sometimes they achieve it in spite of your efforts.
It can be maddening, but only if you see it as your job to "make" them into the person they "should" be. Rather, walk the path alongside them for the few short years you are blessed with and marvel at how perfectly they become, and already are, themselves. Offer your wisdom, a helping hand, your love and support, and then stand back and watch with awe.


Stephanie said...


Jeff said...

Miranda, you've captured so much of the essence of our life choices in a few short paragraphs. I've written some 200,000 words on this subject over the years, and I've never said it better. Thank you!

Miranda said...

Thank you, Jeff! That is a compliment, coming from you. ;-)

Karen James said...


Sandra Dodd said...

Today I spent a fair amount of time and energy helping someone, one-on-one, through facebook messages. At some point she felt it important to write "We are not radical unschoolers, and I've been jumped on more than once by RUers for deigning to consider unschooling an educational choice rather than something that applies to all of life/parenting. So I'm hesistant to join a RU forum. I'll check out the Always Learning place first."

I hadn't mentioned radical unschooling. She's unhappy and worried; she's pressuring her 11 year old.

I gave her a few more pointers about the specifics of her situation, and then wrote "I never use "RU" and I don't allow that abbreviation to be used on my forum.
Always Learning is most definitely a forum for dedicated unschoolers, though, who are not separating academic learning from other learning, so it probably wouldn't be a good discussion for you."

I didn't even ask her to buy my book. The help she got was from a radical unschooler, and it won't hurt my children's lives if she rejects it entirely. I'm sad, though, that she's so near to peace and so resistant.